The behavior of fluids and solids at the shortest length scales enables small systems to exhibit exceptional properties. In the mechanical domain, for example, individual carbon nanotubes demonstrate exceptional strength and stiffness. In the fluid domain, nano- and micro-scale transport enable the body’s natural microcirculation and regulate transpiration in plants. Ideally, we would be able to translate these properties directly from their origins at the nano-scale to practical applications at the macro-scale. In practice, bridging the gap between nano-scale science and the macro world remains a challenge. For example, combining many carbon nanotubes into a larger assembly sacrifices performance for size, and the conventional tools of tissue engineering can struggle to replicate the flow and perfusion that characterize the body’s microcirculation. This talk presents recent research on extending the exceptional mechanics of the micro- and nano-scales into macro-scale systems. The first part of the talk will focus on understanding and optimizing the mechanics of commercial-scale carbon nanotube networks by creating covalent linkages within the network. The second part of the talk will describe the use of origami-based techniques to create multi-material, flow/perfusion microfluidic devices as a platform for scalable tissue engineering.
Carol Livermore is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Northeastern University. She received her B.S. in Physics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1993, and her A.M. and Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard University in 1995 and 1998, respectively. She then joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, first as a postdoc and research scientist and then as a member of the faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. She joined Northeastern University in 2011, where her current research focuses on micro technologies to address key challenges in nanomaterials, assistive technology, tissue engineering, and flow control. She is a member of the ASME and ASEE and a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award and various best paper and teaching awards.